July 29, 2016

Eating My Way Through San Diego

After L.A. and Catalina Island, we hit the road. Destination: San Diego. Apart from the zoo and SeaWorld, I really didn't know much about the city but after spending a few days there, I can now say from experience that it is really is a nice place to visit!

A friend recommended we rent beach cruisers and ride from Mission Beach to Pacific Beach. Since I love casual bike rides, especially if there are some beach/water views involved, I knew I would love this activity. We also stopped for brunch at Miss B's Coconut Club where I had the most delicious Coconut Rum French Toast.

In fact, you'll see from this post that I spent a lot of my time in San Diego eating. Turns out this city has a really great foodie scene, with tons of restaurants to discover. For example, "hipster ramen" from Underbelly, the best fried chicken from The Crack Shack, and breakfast heaven takes the form of cast iron omelettes from Cafe 21. Yum!

La Jolla is a hilly seaside community that seemed very family friendly with less of a party vibe than Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. The cove is really pretty.

I also knew they I wanted to explore Little Italy for sure (such a nice neighbourhood downtown) and we were able to get a table at Bencotto for dinner. I don't typically eat pasta but vacation is when you can kind of pig out so I went for their handmade gnocchi al formaggi and then the pannacotta for dessert. If you remember my trip to Rome from way back when you'll know I love pannacotta.

If you get a chance to visit San Diego, I definitely recommend it! It was never even on my travel list but it turned out to be such a pleasant surprise... especially if you love eating as much as I do.

July 25, 2016

The Estée Edit by Estée Lauder Lip Flip Shade Transformers in Turn Up & Turn Down

The Estée Edit by Estée Lauder is a rotating collection of bold makeup and radiant skincare products products inspired by Estée Lauder herself along with a series of Guest Editors. This season, the Guest Editors are Kendall Jenner and Irene Kim, both of whom bring a youthful energy to the lineup.

Perhaps the most interesting release (or at least the one that caught my eye first) are the Lip Flip Shade Transformers, two matte lipsticks intended to lighten (Turn Up) or deepen (Turn Down) any full-coverage lipstick you already own.

When swatched on their own, you can see that Turn Up is a bold yellow and Turn Down is a matte black. If you're feeling adventurous I suppose you could wear either on their own (not gonna lie, I kind of want to do that with Turn Down). However, the real magic happens when you pair them with another lipstick.

Here's the original lip colour I decided to test the Lip Flip Shade Transformers on: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Lipstick in Confident (also featured in this post). It's a juicy-looking medium berry pink.

With Turn Up, Confident is toned down considerably to a more neutral and subdued pink. You can see it takes on a bit of a yellow tone but nothing too crazy or weird. I actually like the result a lot because it's adds more dimension to the colour.

Turn Down was a little more difficult to work with because the black is so dark. Initially it just looked like I had smeared black lipstick all over but I figured the best way to use it was to smudge and layer it with Confident. In the end, I was left with a nice deep purple shade.

Side note: I tested Turn Down over some lighter shades and it didn't work so well... probably best to use this one with brighter or darker lipsticks rather than your nude MLBBs if you don't want to end up with patchy-looking black lips.

The Lip Flip Shade Transformers retail for $26 CAD. Are they a necessity? Certainly not. But they are fun to play around with and allow you to get different wear out of your everyday lipsticks without having to buy more shades (although let's be real.. if you're a beauty junkie like me you probably already have more than enough lip colours thank you can handle). If you were to only get one, I'd recommend Turn Up since it should work with pretty much any lipstick.

July 21, 2016

Catalina Island

A 75 minute boat ride from San Pedro is an easy and fun getaway for Los Angeles locals: Catalina Island. It was a bit of a random decision to go here but turned out to be my favourite place I visited on my recent CaliTrip (see my L.A. recap here).

Dress: NOUL / Bag: Longchamp (here) / Sunglasses: Polette (c/o)

You can rent golf carts and drive them around the island, allowing you not only easy access to random beaches and great views along the way but it's also super fun! I definitely recommend this if you're ever in the area.

July 18, 2016

L.A. Love

Somehow I forgot to mention this on the blog, but if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I was recently vacationing in California. This was kind of a follow-up to last year's CaliTrip (see here, here, and here) except this time we headed further south to Los Angeles and San Diego.

Despite its close proximity to Vancouver (less than 3 hours by plane), I'd never been to L.A. before. I'm not big into Hollywood or Disneyland so those weren't on the agenda, but I did manage a short hike up to the Griffith Observatory where we got a view of the city and the iconic Hollywood sign from afar.

California has so many beaches it's impossible to visit them all. We picked a few, like Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach which was nice but touristy.

It definitely could not compare to the area around Venice Beach. The vibe at Venice was a lot more laidback and hipster, with some great places to eat and drink. I especially loved exploring the Venice Canals. What a cool spot!

It's always fun to check out the local sports teams so I also bought us tickets to see the LA Dodgers play the Colorado Rockies. I don't particularly like baseball but Dodger Stadium was a really cool venue and I enjoyed watching the game.

Perhaps most surprising of all, I did absolutely no shopping on this trip! However, we did spend one of our nights in Beverly Hills where I window shopped along Rodeo Drive before heading to dinner at The Grill on the Alley. This steak was absolutely incredible.

Stay tuned for some more trip recaps (not just San Diego, but a seriously fun day trip I made to Catalina Island).

July 14, 2016

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in "Vancouver"

I've already shared my excitement about Makeup Revolution, a new line coming to Canada that I was introduced to at the London Drugs Beauty Event (#LDBeauty) last month. However, we also got the opportunity to play with some new launches from brands that are already well-established here.

Those brands included one of my faves, NYX Cosmetics, and their new Soft Matte Lip Cream in "Vancouver" was definitely one of the stars of the show.

Thanks to Jenn from A Beautiful Zen for snapping this pic of me getting my swatch on!

The Soft Matte Lip Creams are a unique formulation: neither a lipgloss nor a lipstick. While they come in lipgloss-style packaging (tube and doe foot applicator), the texture is very creamy like a mousse and sets to a pigmented semi-matte finish. It's not a typical matte if you are looking for that type of look but the formula does mean it feels quite comfortable on the lips.

The shades are all named after cities around the world so it was very fitting that "Vancouver" was being featured at #LDBeauty. It's a gorgeous deep purple shade which honestly seems a bit weird for a Vancouver-themed beauty product. We have such a mild climate with next to no snow and I view this as being very Fall/Winter.

I'm not complaining though! I actually love wearing deep gothy lip colours like this and you can bet I will definitely be rocking this in the cooler months.

Find this Soft Matte Lip Cream along with other NYX Cosmetics at London Drugs.

July 11, 2016

DVF Wrap Dress

There is one item that has been on my wishlist for years: a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress. However, when it came to investing in such an iconic piece of clothing, I knew I wanted to find a print that I absolutely loved. So, each season, I scoured the new print releases until this one (Indigo Snake Leaves) finally caught my eye earlier this year. I ended up purchasing it in the New Julian Two style which means the dress is knee-length with 3/4 sleeves and no collar. Overall, a very classic silhouette that's perfect for summer work outfits!

Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg (other colours) / Sandals: Naturalizer
Bag: Mulberry (here) / Bracelet: Mark. (c/o)

July 8, 2016

A Pinterest-Worthy Picnic with President's Choice Insiders Collection

Since I'm recapping events this week, I wanted to share some images from a very Pinterest-worthy picnic I attended with President's Choice last month. The event showcased some must-try products from the PC Insiders Collection which can be used for all those fun summer events you've got planned -- whether it's a picnic, BBQ, or road trip.

We started our own "road trip" with a bike ride around the Seawall (I bike the Seawall often and it's one of my favourite summer activities) from Yaletown to Stanley Park. Once in Stanley Park, we then headed over to the Stanley Park Pavilion where we happened upon this gorgeous outdoor picnic setup.

Nothing better than dining al fresco, am I right? Us lucky attendees were fed a veritable feast made using products from the PC Insiders Collection, including fresh salads, salmon and bison burgers, lamb flatbreads. and more. Even better, most of the recipes and serving ideas can be found on the PC Insiders website (grouped by activity choice), making entertaining easy for all of us home cooks who want to recreate them.

Also, Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream, you guys. I am so stocking my freezer with this and I'm betting a lot of you will too. Yum!

July 5, 2016

In Palette Heaven with Makeup Revolution

The London Drugs Beauty Event (#LDBeauty) took place a few weeks ago, giving all of us lucky attendees the opportunity to preview some of the new cosmetics launches coming to stores soon. I've had the pleasure of attending for a number of years now and it's always been one of my most anticipated summer events -- the organizers knock it out of the park every time! As usual, we also took home some major swag bags and I'll be sharing my thoughts on a few of the products over the next while.

First up, I wanted to share a very exciting new line coming to London Drugs: Makeup Revolution. I read a lot of British beauty blogs so I was already familiar with this line but for those of you that aren't, you are in for a treat. Makeup Revolution is known for its vast product range and high quality while somehow remaining seriously affordable (not quite sure what the Canadian pricing will be yet but in the US they run from $7 to $15)... and the palettes... OMG, the palettes.

I received a sampling of the brand's most popular palettes, and they are all so pretty! Seriously in palette heaven here.

For neutral eye makeup lovers, there are a wide variety of palettes to suit your tastes, including the Ultra Eyeshadows Flawless 2 and the Redemption Eyeshadow Palette Iconic 3. Flawless 2 features a whopping 32 eyeshadows (each is about the size of a nickel) in a range of matte and shimmery shades. The shadows also have names printed on a clear insert that goes on top which is uncommon for most of Makeup Revolution's other palettes which don't appear to come with shade names. Iconic 3 features 12 long rectangular shadows plus a double ended sponge applicator, all of which carry a hint of rose gold. I believe it's supposed to be a pretty good drugstore dupe for the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette.

If you like colour, the Salvation Palette in Unicorns Unite is a fun offering. There are a range of wearable but bright shades (the 12 shimmery rectangular ones), but also some more neutral shades (the 6 round ones which are slightly larger than those in the Flawless 2 palette).

Makeup Revolution's palettes don't just stop at eyeshadow though. There are a number of face palettes as well, and these are perhaps the ones I'm most excited about. It's not often you see contour and blush palettes this pretty. Seriously, look at all the veining! It's like a MAC MSF but for a fraction of the price. I've got the Ultra Contour Palette, with mostly mattes but then some gorgeous highlighters, and the Blush Palette Queen, which contains 8 baked blushes.

Packaging, as you can see, is pretty bare bones but this is how the brand is able to offer so much product at such a reasonable price. Makeup Revolution should be hitting stores later this summer so be sure to head to London Drugs to check out these palettes and more!

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